Melesmeles - Senori Tasso - Mr Badger is scorching the west country on his bicycle. Beware, Beware – Pedelare! Pedalare!
The peleton strings out behind him, those fine young men and women athletes, the pride of our youth and members of those famous racing teams in their matching lycra grinding up the gears to reach the of the moors and then sprinting downhill. The hunt is on and it is flat out all the way, never touching the brakes. But none can keep up with his furious pace. Old Melesmeles is one in a million, we say. Nobody betters him. Nobody can, and nobody ever will. Those few of us who stand our ground in the presence of that growl, those bared teeth, spumy chops and red eyes…
… like the gashed and gored heros of the ancient boar hunt of Pelion, pump out our life blood, and, descending to the shades, become invisible men and women. Lost.
O Melemeles! O Stavros (as we also playfully call him: like the grizzled and revered village elder of a mythical Aegean island, when he is not racing he is as gentle and friendly as a much loved pussy cat!) – the old and ageless wild beast.
And so there is much blood, Remembrance Sunday, red poppies, the state of emergency, and all the rest – ‘But what is the path that takes us from the Augustinian conception that good is everything and evil is only the lack of goodness, to an opposite view, such as that as Schopenhauer, that good is the absence of evil?
‘Between Augustine and Thomas Aquinas, on the one hand, and Schopenhauer on the other, is the philosophy of the “thinking self”, which introduces into the modern world view an “acontextual”, solitary, self-sufficient being who is capable of acquiring knowledge of the world “outside himself” with his own forces alone. I am referring once again to Descartes, to Leibniz’s “monads without doors or windows”, and to Kant, for whom the subject of knowledge can never penetrate the “thing in itself”.
‘The identification of evil with life and the idea of “abstinent” goodness are based on the individualistic conception of man, on the same homo clausus (it), on the same “self in a shell” on which freedom is based as independence from relationships… as I have sought to demonstrate… (she continues)’. Storia Permette, Storia Proibito, Valeria Ugazio, (tr 2013): Between Good and Evil, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorders (Ch 4)- P. 178.
And then there is the barking of the dogs! Yes, the real fun begins when we hit the suburbs of atomised and sickening life in which the only story is “Whenever things get better, they get worse” … a story, as your reporter, Mr Fox, can confirm from his customary horizontal position, beneath, beyond and between (meaning that for the last few days I’ve been swinging my hammock among ‘Men in Sheds’, first the monastic community at Hartridge where the monks of the Buddhist Forest Sangha Tradition live in ‘kutis’ (=sheds), and today on the oriental express and London bound to attend the launch of the Mens Shed Association no less – or “Shedders” as they are perhaps unfortunately known).
The suburbs call Melesmeles and his peleton hunt by several different names – “The Grey Wolves”, “The Wild Bunch”, “The Evil One”, or even “Shiva and his Gang” (How wrong they are!), but usually it is simply “Terrorists”. Sensing their approach the domesticated pups raise the alarm, first an occasional bark, then all joining together in unison and general howling. The streets get cleared, and as the dark mass approaches woe betide any isolated car driver on his way to the betting shop, or housewife on her way to the supermarket. It is all about fear, fear among them permitting.
Mr Fox has seen it all for himself and will be telling all, or as much he is also permitted to, to the association of “Shedders” later today. Some may elect to join our pack, and become ‘our’ citizens, and or at least that is the absurd hope he also shares with Melesmeles.